SAMC - College of Liberal Arts - Texas A&M University Corpus Christi

Midsummer Night's Music

World Premiere: Midsummer Night's Music

The Texas A&M University Opera is proud to present the world premiere of Midsummer Night's Music on Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center.  The performance concerns a group of actors putting on a musical production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream, and combines the text of Shakespeare and music of Henry Purcell with new comic dialogue.  Enjoy rollicking tunes as the cast of fairies and rustics attempt to rehearse their parts despite some surprising obstacles!  This brand-new comedy is adapted and directed by Dr. Ellen Denham and features Dr. Sangmi Lim, collaborative pianist.  Tickets are $10 adults, $8 seniors, $5 students and military with proper ID.

Director's Notes     Performer Bios     Opera Friends

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Director's Notes

Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night's Dream owes its enduring popularity to Shakespeare’s genius and to its multi-layered, comic plot, with characters and situations to appeal to everyone.  Our adaptation uses the essential parts of the play, combined with the light and elegant music of British composer, Henry Purcell, who lived from 1659-1695, nearly 100 years after Shakespeare (1564-1616).  Purcell frequently composed music for the theatre, and composed two semi-operas based on Shakespeare: The Tempest, and The Fairy-Queen, adapted from A Midsummer Night's Dream.  Purcell’s own sense of comedy shines through not only in the solo songs, but in his humorous “catches,” or rounds.

The full play has twenty-one named characters and other various attendants; here, with apologies to the Bard, we have pared it down to nine, focusing on two groups of characters, the rustics and the fairies.  The rustics, or “rude mechanicals,” are tradesmen who, despite their lack of formal training, believe that they can put on a play to please the Duke of Athens on his wedding day.  The king and queen of the fairies, Oberon and Titania, are in the midst one of their marital arguments, into which they drag their respective courts, including the mischievous sprite Puck, who lives to create as much havoc as possible.  When the rustics meet to rehearse their play in the fairies’ forest, Puck can’t resist making trouble.

Our adaptation concerns a group of actors rehearsing scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream, so when we see the Shakespeare characters, they are in a play within a play. There is also a bit of a play within a play within a play as the rustics rehearse their play, Pyramus and Thisbe! 

We hope that you will be entertained by the beautiful music and classic comedy.  There is no reason for younger viewers to feel intimidated by Shakespeare because of the archaic language—you may not understand every word, but seeing the dialogue performed out loud gives it context that is not available when reading from the page.   For more context, you can read this scene-by-scene summary of the full play:  http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plots/midsps.html  The material we are using for this production is drawn from Act I, Scene 2; Act II, Scenes 1-2; Act III, Scene 1;  and Act IV, Scenes 1-2.

Performer Bios

More bios coming soon!

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Skylyn Bennett (Candace/Puck) is a third year voice major at TAMUCC. This is her third semester involved in Opera Workshop; she is a voice student of Dr. Denham. She also performs with University Singers and in the past performed a solo. Skylyn is a soprano and has earned medals in the past for the UIL State Solo and Ensemble competition. In high school she choreographed a dance and taught it to all of the students for Spring Show. In the future Skylyn hopes to become a singer/songwriter and an excellent performer.

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Joy Puumala (Emily/Quince) is a soprano voice major in her third year at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. Last year, Joy enrolled in Opera Workshop both semesters and performed in Pinstripe Harry's Tea Room Cabaret and Pinocchio with leading roles. She is a voice student of Dr. Ellen Denham. Her goals are to graduate from TAMUCC with Honors and become a recording artist. She loves to write songs and sing all day. She currently performs with the University Singers choir as well as playing baritone saxophone with the Islander Jazz Band.

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Dr. Ellen Denham (Director) joined the music faculty at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2017.  Praised for her interpretive skills, clear tone, and effortless ornamentation, Denham is equally comfortable on the opera and musical theatre stage, as a concert soloist, and in multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and improvised works.  Previous productions she has directed at TAMU-CC include Pinocchio, Pinstripe Harry's Tea Room Cabaret, for which she also wrote an original libretto, An Evening with Amadeus, and Hansel and Gretel.  This January, she will be presenting her work on "Challenges and Solutions for the Developing Collegiate Opera Program" at the National Opera Association National Conference.  She holds a DMA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a MM from New England Conservatory, and a BM from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

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Dr. Sangmi Lim (Collaborative Pianist) is an active performer, appearing frequently as a soloist, chamber musician and collaborative pianist. She has performed in Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina and throughout the United States. She earned her B.M. and M.M. in Piano Performance from Ewha Womans University in Korea and also M.M. in Collaborative Piano and D.M.A. in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. Currently, Dr. Lim teaches at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and at New England Music Camp. Additionally, Dr. Lim is a co-director of the Piano Celebration Week at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. 

Opera Friends

Our opera performances would not be possible without our friends in the Department of Theatre and Dance, for lending us costume and set items, Silas Breaux, who built two of our rolling frames, and several neighbors who donated corrugated cardboard.  Our students are also talented visual artists/crafters and are responsible for many of our costume and set items.  We could always use more friends!  We are particularly looking for donors to sponsor our season or our student opera company, so that we can continue to grow and make opera available to audiences in Corpus Christi and beyond.  Contact Ellen Denham at ellen.denham@tamucc.edu.  Also, we would love to be your friend on Facebook!

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